Thursday, December 29, 2005

Demystified Design: Part One

Part One: The Idea Matrix

When I post a new creature, more often than not many of you ask me how on Earth I came up with THAT. Yeah, you know, that. Scroll down and take your pick.

In response to those inquiring minds, I plan to demystify my design process in a series of posts with the hopes that you may gain a bit of insight as to how I go about making this stuff and more importantly, nudging you through the door to designing and creating your own objects for I'm here to tell you all that any one of you can do what I do. Yes, you, can.

So c'mon, put on your wizard hat (for the act of making is nothing short of magical), grab a few hooks and some yarn from your stash (or whatever materials and tools spark your creative fancy) and follow me down the magical, demystified path to your Inner Creative Genius (Darth Vader voice appropriate here).

Chapter One: Free Your Mind

Okay, lose the Darth Vader voice and now begin channeling Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus) in the Matrix and repeat after me, "I will free my mind."

Why must we free our minds? Because grasshopper, design begins with the idea and ideas like lots of space to move around in so that they may evolve.

In the beginning there was the idea...

Did you ever look at some banal object, something you've seen day in and day out, and all of a sudden it speaks to you? No, not literally (not usually anyway). But intuitively. This, let's pick something for reference...your toaster, looks you straight in the eye as you're happily toasting your morning slice o' carbs and transmits the nature of its Inner Toaster to you..."Let's get together later and plan world domination."


Well, that's because your mind is closed thereby deflecting any message your Totalitarian Toaster may wish to send you. Peeps, ideas are EVERYWHERE. You must open your mind, your eyes, your ears, your sensory perceptions in general, to the world around you and allow them access the the inner-recesses of your brain for this is the place where ideas make their home.

So, how does one open their mind? Free their sensory perceptions? Create a hospitable place for ideas to take root and grow? Become receptive enough to catch those messages from the Totalitarian Toaster?

I suggest observing a segment of our population whose minds are not yet tainted by pedestrian adult sensibilities: children. Observe how children interact with their environment. They experience the world from a very uninhibited or new perspective. Sights, sounds, surfaces are unfamiliar and therefore ripe for discovery. As adults, we no longer view our familiar environments as places of discovery. Been there, done that. But by observing children we can relearn through observation what it is like to experience our rote world with a sense of wonder.

Don't have access to a small being? Watch your pet for a while. The fuzzbutts have much to show us grasshopper...

I've spent the last decade continually working at keeping my mind free and open to my environment. It's not easy and it is a daily practice. Oftentimes, I receive comments or emails inquiring if my ideas come to me in dreams. I answer this question with a definite NO. I tend to be more open to the conceptual wonders that stalk the crevices of my mind when awake, but I realize that this is not the case for everyone. Nonetheless, wide awake or deep slumber, your mind must be open to the world around you. This is where the magic takes place. Oh yes, ideas (the good, the bad and the ugly) are definitely thaumaturgic events and they do not happen in a mind that is too cluttered, imparts too many obstacles, to allow them space to breathe.

Chapter Two: Explore the New Old World

Okay Morpheus my mind is free. What's next?

Once your mind is open and tuned to optimal reception it is your duty to explore. Yep, revel in colors, shapes, forms, differing volumes and scales, textures, sounds and smells that constitute your environment. Allow the inert objects in your world to formulate their own language; listen to their plans for world domination. Embrace the whims of your muse and pay homage to that pear sitting sensually in a bowl on your kitchen counter exhibiting skin of beautiful muted green, infused with splashes of vermilion, ochre and umber, its bulbous bottom stalwartly supporting the slender bodice-like upper, topped delicately with its slightly twisted stem. Rightside up, the pear is seemingly, humanly, torso-esque. Upside down, the pear feigns cerubic face atop statuesque neck. Open your mind to the details AND the possibilities...eventually, that pear WILL find its voice and soon you may even hear it sing!

Listen to the spoken word (even if from a pear or toaster). Immerse yourself in text on page. When your mind is free, words and language have special significance. For me, words become the launch pad for myriad ideas rocketing forth from the depths of my creative inner workings to the tips of my digits. For example, remember SupaFly? Well that entomological crocheted wonder is rooted directly in our current vernacular. I literally just translated that popular term into the creature that finds itself packed away in my closet as I compose this here post.

When your mind is free, absolutely everything in your world is fodder for ideas. EVERYTHING.

In fact, my newest pool of conceptual devices trickles onto the gray matter that constitutes LabLinoleum from a direct feed from your minds. Yes, I'm using you guys (in a good way)! I am always delighted to find comments and emails asking me, urging me, pleading with me to crochet an ostomy bag (Lori), a human bone or a marbled steak (Noo), perhaps an entire Thanksgiving dinner (Deneen) and even maggots (Cordelia). This stuff is as good as gold folks. All I have to say is please, please, please keep 'em coming because my mind is free and set at maximum reception.

Chapter Three: The Playlist

Ideas are seeding and taking root. How do I keep track of them?

Now, what does one do after the floodgate of one's formerly closed mind has been released and there are Sugarplum Toasters and Wonderbread Fairies dancing around in one's head? Three words: write them down. Three more words: Sketch them out. And even more words: take a picture; make origami models; keep track of them on Post-Its; sing songs in their honor...Okay, I've gone too far.

Listen, If you want to be an IJ (Idea Jockey) then you must be prepared to document your little milestones thereby creating an Idea Playlist. Document all of your ideas. Yes, the good, the bad and the ugly because some ideas, even bad ones, can turn good. They just need to cure for a bit. You know? You know.

So, get yourself a little notebook that can fit in your purse, bag, pocket, hat, whatever and some sort of writing implement. Carry these with you at all times. You never know when the muse will strike, especially when you're mind is open and the reception crisp and clear. Trust me, when your idea-flow hits maximum volume, you will not remember each and every one flitting about the recesses of your gray matter unless you document them.

I treat my Idea Playlist/Journal as another limb. I carry it everywhere and I do not buy purses that cannot accommodate it. I'm serious. Not only do I write in my magical book of ideas, but I sketch stuff out, paste in images that I find in print media and document the messages received from the Totalitarian Toaster Regime...This is my personal place to keep track of all the concepts free-floating about my head just waiting to come to fruition.

Let's review:
  1. Free your mind.
  2. Talk to the toaster. Just kidding.
  3. Once mind is freed, explore your world and allow your brain to have unlimited access to the ideas.
  4. Obtain a notebook, journal or sketchbook and dedicate it to your ideas.
  5. Document, document, document.

Obviously this is how ideas and idea generation are treated over here at LabLinoleum. It's kind of an obtuse subject, but I'd be interested to hear how you deal with your own Idea Matrix, for my mind is open and reception is set at max.

In our next episode, Morpheus will show us how our conceptions can be made whole in the world of the real...

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

2005 Reflections & 2006 Resolutions

This may be a trite exercise to some, but I find that assessing the year's accomplishments/areas for improvement, combined with setting goals and determining the best way to execute them during the upcoming year to be a cathartic exercise. And I am an innate list-maker so this process is one that I enjoy immensely!

I tackle this exercise from a primarily additive perspective, meaning, I do not start out with a blank slate from year to year as my goals for the new year are generally derivative from my goals of the prior year. As a result, my resolution process is one of keeping a list and making modifications for maybe my goals from last year were too lofty, maybe some just don't have any relevance for me anymore or maybe, a goal or two are still in-process and need a bit of tweaking in order to be accomplished. So, I attempt to frame my list modifications by asking myself these questions:

  • Did I accomplish what I set out to do this year? If not, is that particular goal still meaningful?
  • If a goal is in-process, what steps do I need to take in order to accomplish the task?
  • Do I have any new goals to add to the list for the upcoming year?

By asking myself to reflect upon my goals I am able to refine my list and map out my personal journey for the upcoming year. Did I mention that I'm a bit anal retentive???

Without further ado, I give you The List...

  1. Spend more quality time with my family - Really made an attempt to hang with the hubby, the child and momster this year. This goal migrates from year to year as it is easy for me to lose track of my loved ones while attempting to conduct my modern adult life laden with employment, chores, my creative exploits and far too many hours surfing the internet. In spite of these diversions I work mightily hard to keep my connections with my family alive and well. No small task!
  2. Create a website - Done (and then some because I have this here blogola too)! Although in 2006 I MUST UPDATE MY WEBSITE MONTHLY. I am really a webmaster sloth.
  3. Write and publish a book - Migrating to '06. I made some headway on this goal due to Annie's acceptance of my essay into her book Cheaper Than Therapy.
  4. Create a comic book - Migrating to '06.
  5. Create a zine - Ditto #4.
  6. Sell my toy ideas to a manufacturer - Ditto #4.
  7. Sell my puppet/toy-based stories to a television or movie production company - Ditto #4
  8. Finish my puppet theatre - Ditto #4.
  9. Sell some of my artwork - Oh yeah, cleaning out the closets and making a little green stuff in the process.
  10. Ask for a promotion at The Cube Farm - I know, I cannot believe they promoted me either!
  11. Buy a house or condo - We are the proud owners of a 'spensive fixer-upper!
  12. Take a vacation - Last year I spent my entire vacation moving the contents of our residence from apartment to condo. Sucked! In '06 we are going to Dublin, Ireland! Wooo hooo! I will purchase much wool and drown myself in a vat of Guinness.
  13. Exercise - Ahhh yes, the exercise conundrum. Should I crochet or get my rear out of the chair and move? I mean c'mon, this one is hard!
  14. Lose weight - Been on my list since birth.
  15. Try not eat processed food - Repeat after me, "Potato chips are not quick cuisine."
  16. Learn to spin - Ditto #4.
  17. Relearn to make wool felt - Yeah, ditto #4 too.
  18. Make garments - Okay, I started to make a few functional items this year. And yes, I am counting the rainbow legwarmers that I finished last week! Definitely more to come in '06 and I may even design a few. Who knows!
  19. Knit more - Making progress here.
  20. Read non-fiction - I really need to read something other than novels. This one definitely migrates to '06.
  21. Wipe out my credit card debt - Mission accomplished. Yipee! Now I just need to stay out of debt!
  22. Spend less and save my money - Hi, my name is LadyL and I'm a compulsive shopper...yep, migrating.
  23. Figure out how to make a myself financially independent using my artwork/creativity as a vehicle - I can hope, can't I?
  24. Go see a play or concert - Yes, must put down the hook and yarn and actually leave the house every now and again in the evening. I know, it's sad. Migrating...
  25. Go to museums and galleries more often - Apparently I'm okay going out during the daytime. Need to step up this activity in '06 though.
  26. Buy blue - I try not to talk politics on my blog, but if I am going to blow off #22, this is the least I could do.
  27. *New* Read the newspaper every day
  28. *New* Publish my crochet patterns in a book(s) - I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
  29. *New* Finish my filet crochet WIPs - You've no idea the depth and breadth of these WIP-olas that lurk beneath the lids of the plastic bins scattered about my work room.
  30. *New* Make a least one large scale crocheted sculpture
  31. *New* Learn to quilt
  32. *New* Expand my embroidery skills - More to the embroidered life than just mere chain stitch.
  33. *New* Make more dolls and puppets
  34. *New* Post existing puppets on blog
  35. *New* Finish writing my puppet plays - Are you sensing a theme here???
  36. *New* Perform one puppet play - Not to bludgeon you with more puppet stuff, but...
  37. *New* Don't take the actions of my siblings personally - Sticks and stones...
  38. *New* Cook more often - Yes Regina, the kitchen is accessible 365 days a year.
  39. *New* Learn how to live in the moment
  40. *New* Learn how to relax and quell the need to fill every waking moment with activity - Taking #39 one step further.

Whew, 40 goals! No time like the present...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Here Comes Tater Claus

Here Comes Tater Claus,
Here comes Tater Claus,
Right down Tater Claus Lane!
Rudolph and Scorpions donning Oakleys,
Pullin' on the reins!

Bells are ringin',
Sprouts are singin',
All is merry and bright!
Heat the Greenhouse,
Tuck in the Sprouts,
'Cause Tater Claus comes tonight!

Here comes Tater Claus,
Here comes Tater Claus,
Right down Tater Claus Lane!
He's got a bag that's filled with soil,
For Seeds and Sprouts again!

Hear those garden tools jingle jangle,
Oh what a beautiful sight!
So jump in the seed bed,
Cover your roots,
'Cause Tater Claus comes tonight!

Here comes Tater Claus,
Here comes Tater Claus,
Right down Tater Claus Lane!
He doesn't care if you're green or leafy,
He loves you just the same!

Tater Claus knows we're from Mother Nature,
That makes everything right!
So fill your hearts with Christmas cheer,
'Cause Tater Claus comes tonight!

Here comes Tater Claus,
Here comes Tater Claus,
Right down Tater Claus Lane!
He'll come around when the Greenhouse dims,
That it's Christmas morn again!

Peace on earth will come to Veggies,
No matter their shape or size.
So lets give thanks to Mother Nature,
That Tater Claus comes tonight!

Have a wonderful safe Holiday weekend everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Linoleum Trade Agreement

Can I tell you how difficult it is for me to find time to blog during the holiday season?

Okay, this is my one-sentence whine for the day. Onward!

As an extension of my last post about why I blog I wanted to share with you what I believe to be one of the best outcomes of my foray into world of blogging: The Swap! Oh yeah, this is where I insinuate myself and my creations onto someone else in exchange for something they make that I really, REALLY must have. Fortunately for me, I've not had much trouble enticing other bloggers into a Linoleum Trade Agreement ("LTA"). I mean, c'mon! You just don't see eyeballed food in the marketplace very often, thereby making my creations a novelty, right? Just agree with me and no one will get hurt.

Anyway, so far so good. I've entered into quite a few LTA's during this, my first year as a blogger, that have landed me such items as: a quirky yellow chicken ala Lyn; an awesome crocheted flopsaber from my buddy Ro; tube sock-inspired Ned, birthed from the hook of Renee; my new roomie Elspeth, created by none other than Jane; and of course, everyone's favorite shifty-eyed kumquat, Gary, who came to stay at my humble abode via Jessica. And these acquisitions were just the one's that I remembered off the top of my head! There are many, many more items that lovingly adorn the interior landscape of my domicile.

Just take a look at the new acquisitions that I've coerced, I mean enticed, out of my latest victims, I mean LTA partners into sending me this month...

Swapped a holiday chicken for this faboo elfin-inspired boot handcrafted by the Naive Knitter herself, Martha!

Sent a Chapeau du Poulet in exchange for this amazing embroidered rocket launcher from Lisa which now adorns the pristine white walls of my hallway gallery...

Two chicken nuggets for...Oh yeah, chicken-inspired socks from Andrea. Are these not moi?

Onto the unsolicited gifties that I feel incredibly blessed to have been given from my buddies out there in blogdom...

From Cordelia, these amazing eyeball socks!

Peeps I love socks and have been secretly trying to figure out how to make socks with sandals look cool. So far, the experiment has been unsuccessful. Can you say dork? I digress.

Deneen sent me these totally groovy craft books! As many of you know, I love the oldies, but goodies...

Awesome handcrafted Monster Crochet stationary from multi-talented Ellen, my SNB buddy! (Andrea do you recognize the star of this stationary?)

Finally, a package of goodies from The Shrone complete with chickens, eyeballs and scorpions! Does this woman know me or what?

Sometimes, when my coercion fails or unsolicited packages fail to show up at my mailbox I must resort to old-fashioned patronage because let's face it, getting stuff in the mail is awesome! So, I figure everyone loves to receive a little cold hard cash every now and again and I would much rather put said greenbacks in the pockets of my fellow bloggers/craftsters than anywhere else because (i) I receive a unique handcrafted item from someone I am inspired by and/or admire and (ii) I support his or her stash-enhancement potential by giving them some working capital in exchange for their wares. Voila! It's a win win in my book!

PayPal account at the ready, I commissioned Heather to whip me up this stunning mandala in red. Everyone say ooooooh...ahhhhh...

I also purchased Jess's new knitted toys booklet, which is brilliant as is the author!

It is an absolute pleasure to interact with such an amazing group of creative people. I love that you share your lives and creations with me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart...

Friday, December 16, 2005

FYI & 411

Guess who has a featured project on Craftster?

Yep, ME!!! Yay!!! Turkeyzilla The Tote Bag ("TTT") is famous!!!

Okay, maybe TTT can more likely be characterized as infamous, but you get the point...

Now that my good news has been broadcasted from the proverbial rooftop I can get down to business by responding to Lisa regarding her inquiry.

She writes:

.... I'm SUPER curious as to why all you other bloggers out there got started...
and how your blog has changed for you as a forum.... and what you are looking
for from this community...

Why I began blogging?

That's a good question and one that deserves a bit of background before I proceed any further.

Many of you know that I have both a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Fine Art. However, you may not be aware that long before my higher educational creative pursuits, I began experimenting with graphite and ink at the age of two. Yes, two. Shortly thereafter, I added brushes and pigment to my juvenile repertoire, only to be swept away in a creative fervor of shears, paper, fibers, hooks, needles, etc., etc. In short, I've been making junkola for a LONG time and as you can imagine, I've got enough FO's to comfortably fill the equivalent square footage of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. As with any self-respecting artist who has (i) got a lot of FO's in her closet(s)and (ii) spent her educational career being indoctrinated in the theories and practices of the contemporary art world, I made it my prime directive to pursue a life and career as a gallery artist, showing my work in said venues, which would, hopefully, subsequently lead to the motherload in the art world pantheon, the museum show (Darth Vader voice appropriate to use here).

Bear with me. I do have a point...

Fast forwarding through my creative childhood to college where, during the course of my Bachelor's Degree program my hard-core indoctrination had not yet begun and as a result, I relished an education that was not only varied with regard to art mediums and processes, but this variety was, for the most part, encouraged! So, I fiddled around with traditional art mediums such as paint and stone as well as mediums considered craft such as fiber, ceramics and glass and ended up with a dual major in sculpture and fiber. Upon settling on my bi-major, I began to sense an undercurrent in the attitudes of my sculpture profs regarding my interest in fiber, which they believed was best left on the loom, so to speak. However, I ignored their opinions and pursued my love of fiber anyway. Actually, the painful awareness of the contemporary art world's complete disregard and even derision for the fiber arts remained relatively opaque to me until grad school. And peeps, let me tell you, when the veil was finally shed with regard to how fiber art was/is generally viewed in the larger art world context during my first of year of grad school, my once incredibly rewarding and FUN creative life became very uncomfortable. The yarn that once flowed freely through my veins was slowly but surely interrupted and painfully extracted replaced with a daily infusion of traditional art materials and processes. The non-fibrous, hard materials, bitch on wheels sculptor, Regina Rioux (for I had not yet become the LadyLinoleum you know today), was not born, but made. The indoctrination worked and as a result, I created larger than life sculptures casted from plastic and rubber, very little, if any yarn used. I also showed my work at galleries (decent galleries) in an around Los Angeles as well as the East Coast. I believed at that point that I was on a sure road to artistic success.

All this creative fervor and moderate success should have made me ecstatic right? After all, this is what I had hoped for! Or so I thought. Looking back I am confronted with a Regina who was young, easily influenced and well, not very true to herself. And peeps let me state for the record that it has taken me a decade to unearth the LadyLinoleum you know today from beneath the unhappy contemporary sculptor who desperately desired recognition from a world of art who barely noticed her with or without yarn. In that decade of "digging out", I began to use my beloved fiber again. I made sculptures and dolls and clothes and all sorts of stuff from all sorts of processes that are considered craft (a dirty word to the artsy set). And you know what? Gallery shows were more difficult to come by and definitely fewer in number but I didn't care because I LOVED making stuff again! However, I did miss the dialogue and critique that comes with showing one's work so I turned to the internet...the world's gallery (among other things). My foray into blogging had begun!

Told you I had a point...

How has my blog changed for me as a forum?

My blog has become more than just mere online gallery space for which to show my work. In fact, this bloggity blog blog has become the capital city on the Planet Monster Crochet where characters take shape, plots are constantly developing and there is much fun and intrigue to be had! In addition, I feel like my work is part of a larger dialog that can be defined as the crafty blogosphere. Not only do I get to share the crazy stuff I make with all of you crafty bloggers out there, but I have the amazing priviledge of seeing what you are all making! And this my friends and colleagues is the absolute best aspect of being a craft blogger imho: to share our love of process and the wonderful creations that result directly from this love.

What am I looking for from this community?

A little bit of recognition. A lot of fun. And a wealth of shared experiences, new ideas and camaraderie. I found all of this and more right here on the world wide web in our little corner of the crafty blogosphere and it's pretty darn cool.

You guys are the best!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Ode to King Kong

In anticipation of the December 14th opening of Peter Jackson's King Kong, I thought I'd give you all a look at LabLinoleum's version of the great ape. I find it difficult to believe that I made this costume/puppet almost six years ago while residing in Kuwait, but alas, it is true. Don't ask me why I was thinking about a gigantor gorilla and his movie legacy while living in the Arabian Desert. Maybe my mind needed to embellish the expansive sandy flatness that is that region of the world. Or maybe I was homesick for my beloved Los Angeles, my birthplace and also birthplace of the American film industry...Ahhh, Hollywood. Or perhaps I felt as if King Kong was a metaphor for my feeling the ultimate other in a very homogeneous Arab society.

Just prior to the onset of the Kong idea trickling into the crevices of my gray matter, I remember scouring the desert in search of craft materials for the supply I brought with me was becoming dangerously close to extinction. Finding craft supplies in the Arabian desert??? No small task, I can assure you. Finally after having driven Kuwait City from end to end or so it seemed, I stumbled upon a shop near my home (of all places) in the shopping district of Salmiya, stuffed floor to ceiling with crochet thread, notions, trim, outrageously embellished fabric, hooks, needles and shears...Walking in there brought tears to my eyes. Literally. And a few miles away in large hardware store no-less, I was amazed to find bolts of acrylic felt in four colors: cherry red, kelly green, black and white. I bought as much as I could carry and sprinted back to my flat with my crafty acquisitions.

I don't even remember how the concept that I should create my own version of the famed ape took root. It seems now as if the idea was simply a crafty immaculate conception. Staring at my newly acquired felt and thread and whatnots I just started working. In a matter of hours my Kong had taken shape.

Feet first...

Handsewn from felt with crocheted ribbing, I cut out his toenails from a black plastic folder I had laying around and sewed them on. Though it may not seem so on your monitor, these Kong footsies are larger than life.

Then the hands created with the same crafty processes as the feet...

Finished off the whole ensemble with the head (notice that this was made in my B.E. * Before Eyeballs * period)...

Of course my Kong has aspirations. He would like to shed his monstrous image and take his show on the road to become a stylin' rave DJ! That's right...make way for DJ Kong!

...And his sidekick, the former finger puppet turned Kong Fly Girl, Fay Wray!

I don't know about you peeps, but I am definitely going to see King Kong this weekend. I may even wear my DJ Kong duds. What'd ya think?

Copyright 2005-2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Rudolph The Red-Eyed Scorpion

Sing with me peeps!

Rudolph, the red-eyed scorpion
had a very glowing eye.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it beams.

All of the other scorpions
used to have to shield their eyes.
Whenever around poor Rudolph
they'd have to wear their

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
"Rudolph with your eye so bright,
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

Then all the scorpions loved him
proud to wear their
Rudolph the red-eyed scorpion,
you'll go down in history!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all the creatures at LabLinoleum!

Copyright 2005-2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Rescue 911...

...The Holiday Meal Recovery Unit Edition! Alternatively titled, Not Without My Sister, from the perspective of everyone's favorite Scaredy Pumpkin, Seamus O'Lantern.

Remember good ole Seamus?

Bet you didn't know Seamus has a sister eh? Well, he does and his precocious, talkative female sibling goes by the name of Leah. That's right, Leah O'Lantern.

Leah is not only precocious for a young Squashette, but she also gregarious, opinionated and slightly bossy. Despite best efforts by her parents to put restraints on their daughter's whims and whines, Leah refuses to let anything or anyone cramp her style. Oh, and style? Well, let's just say that Leah is the bling in bling of what is considered en vogue for the trendiest Pumpkinette with her penchant for coiffures pushing her over the stylized cliff...

...Wait a minute. Pumpkins don't have manes! It is common knowledge that members of the Cucurbitaceae Family are follicularly challenged. So what's a young Pumpkinette to do with all of her TiGi hair products sans locks?


Leah also enjoys faux lashes with her locks. This Pumpkin Princess may have watched Priscilla Queen of the Desert one too many times me thinks...I digress.

Here she is sporting a lovely orange do...

Please note that hair is REMOVABLE.

In addition to her innate style, precocious nature, ubiquitous opinions and bossy demeanor, young Leah O'Lantern is also quite gregarious. This little Pumpkinette could strike up a conversation with a wall if needed. Unfortunately, talking to anyone, anywhere, anytime is not always a wise practice for a little Pumpkin girlie around the holidays as Pumpkin and Pumpkinette Pie are considered a staple on nearly every Thanksgiving Day table in the United States.

So, who did Leah unknowingly find herself engaged in deep and thoughtful conversation with regarding the virtues of pump vs. aerosol hairspray just days before T-Day while strolling around the neighborhood patch? Unfortunately for Leah, she was talking to none other than a couple of corporate buyers from Libby's. Now the guys at Libby's like Pumpkins. They like them a lot. In fact, their Pumpkin Pack is a big seller this time of year so they ditched their earplugs for a grain sack and snatched the little Pumpkinette up with the hopes that her speech would cease when pureed in a can.

Now, it didn't take long for her family to notice that Leah was gone, for when it is quiet in the O'Lantern household that can only mean two things: (i) Leah is asleep or (ii) Leah is not there. The little Pumpkinette was not in her bed. She was not in the house. Nor was she in the neighborhood patch. In fact, Leah was nowhere to be found.

Siobhan O'Lantern, matriarch of the O'Lantern clan, was visibly distraught by her daughter's disappearance and immediately sought answers to the whereabouts of her daughter. Fortunately, there were plenty of eyewitnesses to the Pumpkin-napping of her Sproutling left in the neighborhood patch and they readily informed Siobhan and the rest of the O'Lantern clan of the Pumpkin Abduction of Leah O'Lantern (made-for-television movie in the works). Siobhan O'Lantern, despite her worry and grief, had enough clarity upon hearing the tale of her daughter's nefarious disappearance to remember that the Holiday Meal Recovery Unit ("HMRU") was readying itself for T-Day Operations over at VLA Headquarters. She immediately elected to send her youngest son, Seamus, to go to VLA HQ and enlist the HMRU's ground support in order to extract and recover her beloved Sprout from impending puree-ification. Frightened but determined, Seamus sought out the Veggie Warriors even if his sister was bossy, wore funky wigs and talked way too much, for Seamus loved his sister, Leah, after all and he didn't want to see her come back to the family in a can.

Needless to say, the brave HMRU combatants were able to rescue Leah from the Pumpkin Squashing Facility located in the Libby's Factory with the help of her formerly frightened brother, Seamus. Yes, Seamus stuffed his scaredy feelings beneath his seeds and played a pivotal role in the successful rescue and recovery of his little sister just minutes before she was about to be squashed, pureed and stuffed in a can! The entire harrowing operation was completed using nothing more than a butter knife, mint-flavored dental floss, and a balsa wood airplane. Amazing!

Henceforth, Scaredy Seamus O'Lantern shall be known as Chivalrous Seamus O'Lantern. He will be scared no more, but he will retain his earplugs as his sister is safe and will live to talk another day. And another. And another after that...

Stay tuned! More Holiday Meal Recovery Unit tales to fill your December days and nights!

Copyright 2005-2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Holiday Version of LadyLinoleum

Snagged from The Mother of All Shrones, this is the 2005 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Both! However, my favorite kind of hot chocolate is the Mexican kind that comes in a chocolate "brick" for dispersal in a hot vat of milk.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wrapped of course! The elves spend many an hour perusing back issues of Martha Stewart Living in order to come up with fresh holiday wrapping ideas. Yes. They. Do.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
LadyLinoleum is NOT afraid of color if you hadn't noticed. Each year I aim for my Christmas inspired living room to look like the Vegas Strip.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Not usually.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Usually the weekend succeeding Thanksgiving. However, this year we are running a bit behind with the decorating extravaganza at Chez Linoleum.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Pumpkin and wild mushroom stuffing. A HUGE pain in the rear to make, but well worth the effort!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
My younger sister Stephanie and I would save all of our holiday cards. As you can well imagine, we accumulated a hefty lot of these snail-mail holiday delights. At the start of each Christmas season we would unearth our precious collection of cards and build houses out of them (our constructions resembled larger versions of a standard house of cards) in the family room around the Christmas tree. Many a happy hour spent as a Christmas Card Architect.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
What truth?

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Always, always Christmas Day.

10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him?
My Nana's famous sour cream twists. Sounds weird, I know, but these cookies are fantabulous!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Peeps, I live in sunny SoCal. Oftentimes we are able to hit the swimming pool on Christmas day.

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes, but I've not been on ice skates for many, many years.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Cold. Hard. Cash. I'm simple folk.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
It has always been family and friends. It is a time to reconnect in the midst of our busy lives, relive precious memories, reinvent old traditions, reclaim lost relationships and reaffirm our many blessings.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Christmas cookies!!!!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Christmas Eve Brunch (Brunch is relative as this event begins at around 10:00 am and goes until evening) at my best friend's home. Bea and her SO, John, host this much anticipated event in our little corner of the art world. What could be better than hanging out with your artist buddies and their families, eating until you burst and drinking champagne by the bottle???

17. What tops your tree?
A pipe cleaner version of Santa created my amazingly creative daughter at the age of 9.

18. Which do you prefer Giving or Receiving?

19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol?
Handel's Messiah to put myself in the Christmas spirit...Little known fact in the blogosphere: I, LadyLinoleum, love to sing and this being the case, spent much of my youth in school choirs. As a result of this experience, I know the lyrics to many a Christmas Carol. I love them all and can often be spotted in my car on a busy freeway singing my heart out! Hey, at age 36, I'm totally at home with my dorkdom.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
Candy is my friend.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

There Are Hats Beneath The Piles!

Blogging to you from beneath the piles of papers that currently serve as the top of my desk here at the Cube Farm ("The Farm"). Oh I know it's hard to believe folks, but crocheting Cyclopsian Vegetables just doesn't pay my mortgage so I am forced to pimp out my rather adept accounting skills to this here investment banking firm for which I receive a handful of greenbacks in order to pay said mortgage and oh, buy more yarn...If my choice is yarn or food, I usually pick yarn. I know, it's a sickness. I digress.

At any rate, this be the busiest time of year here at The Farm so as I said, yours truly, Office Dronette by day, LabLinoleum Proprietor by night, is BURIED six feet underneath papers, email and messages, not to mention tons of projects, WIPs and FOs (holiday gifts galore). I'm playing catch-up, hard-core. Bear with me if you've sent me an email and haven't heard anything in return. The same can be said about comments. Rest assured, I've read each and every lovely comment I've received. You guys are definitely the source of my sunny disposition despite the current year-end nightmarish workload.

You all rock! Smooches all around!

Now, I plan on following the lead of my crochet/blog buddy, Andy, and show off some hats because even when one is buried under yucky spreadsheets, one must still attend to one's appearance. And it's winter. So, there shall be hats involved!

Oh and Andy? Loved your Santa-inspired hat! Faboo! I really needed that last night while watching Rudolf...

Okay, for those of you unfamiliar with my Chapeau du Poulet, here's shot of another one I just made. This time in a very lovely tweedy type gray. I will be writing up the pattern to this. I will! I'm just a pattern auteur sloth.

The Deer Stalker! Not my pattern, but peeps, this is a very cool hat. Pattern can be found here. You must make one so we can look like a legion of crocheted Elmer Fudds. Oh c'mon, that would be funny!

I apologize in advance for the blurry pics. Pretend you've had several glasses of wine...

Modeled by Ellen at our SNB meeting this pumpkin colored beauty is for moi.

And sitting atop the head of none other than Laurie, is the chocolate version I made for my hubby. Matching hats. I know. It's wrong.

Andy and I are not the only ones making hats. Check out these fab creations made by some of my other SNB mates...

Here is Drew (Hi Drew!) modeling one of Ellen's News Boys. Ellen has made a truckload of these to sell for the holidays. You go girl with your soon to be acquired pile o' cash!

And sobering up for this pic...Here is Phyllis looking wonderfully stylish in her knitted chapeau!

Hats off to THE HATS! Have hat fever? Need to see more?

Try Andy, Jessica, Ellen and Martha.